Elkin: Battling brothers obligated to become buddies. Triumphant team work requires trust. You know these alliterative bromides because all you have to do is turn on the TV or go to the movies or read a comic book and you get carried out with the tide.
Quantum and Woody #9 continues playing off the Odd Couple Team Up trope as divergent paths forced to meet at crossroads try to figure out where the final destination lies. Then again, any comic that begins with allusions to “Sexy Lincoln Emancipates My Junk” and Giant Murder Robots on the very first page may be bringing something new to the journey.
One of the things I've really been enjoying about the Valiant Universe lately is that they have given me the opportunity to delve into some various abstract and complex concepts like the nature of man, our understandings of time, and the convoluted questions surrounding power. With Asmus and Kano's Quantum and Woody – ummmm – not so much. The focus of this series is embracing the goof – this is entertainment, baby – the comic for “everyone”.
Issue #9 begins an ALL-NEW ARC! START READING HERE! moment for those of you looking for a toe hold to lift you into this series. Valiant, as always, gives you a smart and concise recap page and then launches you into the mayhem. The two brothers are trying to establish themselves as legit heroes, but their personalities keep dictating their approach as much as bringing them into conflict. I don't need to tell you much more than that – you know how it plays – this is just a funny version of it.
The one thing about trying to be a funny book, though, is that sometimes funny falls flat – there are plenty of moments inQuantum and Woody #9 where Asmus seems to let the jokes dictate the narrative, instead of letting the humor flow from the story line itself. Reading this issue I found I was getting new wrinkles in my forehead from that painful sad face I make when I come across someone trying too hard to make me like them. I just wanted to put my arm around this book's shoulders and say, “It's okay, buddy. I understand. I like you. You can tone it down and we'll still be friends.”
And yet it's nice that Asmus and Kano want so much for me to like what they are doing. It almost feels like a compliment, as if my approval means something. It's just that, after awhile, it starts to get a little annoying.
Wunderlich: I, for one, am glad they didn’t tone it down. I read Quantum and Woody because it’s one of the few comics left that I know will make me laugh. Not at every joke, not every time, but I’m smiling at least 90% of the way through. If I want an adventure book with some light ribbing I can go elsewhere. A flat out cartoon—I’ll read The Simpsons.Quantum and Woody is a pile of wise-cracks that just happens to have a great story, real heart and some of the best art on the stands.
So let’s talk jokes. Asmus’s Woody spits them harder and faster than Deadpool and I can’t help but laugh out loud at least once a page (more often than not, once a panel). I won’t lie, his lines can get tiring and there’s occasionally a box simply too rife with wit but, at the end of the day, you get annoyed with Woody because Woody is supposed to be annoying.
Don’t care for Woody’s flavor of fun? Asmus throws the funny from every direction. A subtitle here signals a punch-line there. Captions make you laugh. Goats make you laugh. There’s so many jokes in here that the few that fail can be forgiven.
It isn’t just the writing that cracks sides either. Kano has long been one of my underdog favourites. Have you seen his work in 2003’s H-E-R-O? Perhaps you recall his fill-ins for The Immortal Iron-Fist? I knew his work could be action-packed, emotionally charged and stylistically brilliant, but here he proves he can do hilarious as well. The detail, the expression, the style—it’s here in spades! If you’ve a keen eye you’ll catch his great work with likenesses as well (Superbad anyone?).
It’s clear that Asmus and Kano are trying very hard to be funny. Fortunately I think that their efforts paid off. This isn’t groundbreaking work, but it’s easily one of the most entertaining comics being made today.